Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Original Crime

I have a long way to go
and no time.
You would have to know
my itinerary,
original crime.
There’s a book for that
Pages with no lines
in their palms
or under the sky,
nothing in the snug coffins–
ashes with skin shredded
on charred bones
floating in oceans.

One wave like another
and each as old as the bone
that stove in a father’s head
before the Chinese
produced gunpowder.
By this daddy’s time
bullets were efficient,
clubs be damned:
you were dead
when you stayed dead,
no more resurrections
or prayers in absentio.
No more credos
promising or believing

justice bound to come
around the corner,
for nothing comes
out of something,
heads rolling,
the sentence announced
once the widowed family
gets through its sullen
Did you see their rings,
all on the same fingers?
God said the Devil
would ride us down
into oblivion’s claws.

For now and forever
forget what you want,
be glad if you get
nothing. No father’s
death is worth your own,
or so say those
from whom flesh takes
its original shape.
I came of age in silence.
How could I say speech
was the cure
when all I heard
were empty words:
Spite and venom, hate.

Let love care for those
who pay the bills,
we can hunt the bush
for jackrabbits
and wild boar.
Hope there’s meat where
the fat boils off
the bone.
When the preacher goes,
the widow gathers
her orphaning children
to hold them to her.
Six sons, three daughters
sharing one mother

until the twin girls die,
the final spawn:
one named Lahoma
for the red land
their ancestry shares
with those who are
much more the other
than they; Beulah
named for the land’s
Golden Age, maybe
even eternity,
if that’s another name
for the sea above,
the clouds below . . .

(20, 30 May 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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